Football: Bloomingdale 35, Durant 0

The Bulls notch their first shutout and district win of the season.
Football teams across Tampa Bay were in action Friday night.
Football teams across Tampa Bay were in action Friday night. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published Sept. 14, 2019

DURANT — All it took was a 27-0 loss to state powerhouse Armwood to put some oomph back in Bloomingdale’s offense.

The shutout loss at home sparked the Bulls to a 35-0 win on the road against Durant (1-2, 0-1) on Friday night for their first district win of the season.

The Bulls (2-1, 1-0) were focused on elevating their offense.

“You just put it behind you,” coach Jake Coulson said before the matchup. “You gotta go to work and create energy. The kids had a hard time with the loss.”

And it didn’t take long for the Bulls to get that energy going and use it to their advantage on the road.

Bloomingdale scored on its opening drive after blocking a Durant punt. Senior Gabriel Akpewero scooped up the ball and ran it back for a touchdown from the 22-yard line. Sophomore Michael Espinosa’s kick was also good, propelling Bloomingdale to a 7-0 lead with just over nine and a half to play in the first quarter.

The next scoring drive followed suit as the Bulls recovered a fumble on the kickoff, staring their next drive from the 24-yard line. Senior quarterback Lance Alderson found Akpewero in the open field, securing Bloomingdale’s second score of the night with 8:15 to go in the first quarter.

The Bulls’ next possession was just as successful, resulting in another touchdown after 10 plays, half of them starting on first down. Alderson tossed it short to Dominic Gonnella in the hole and the senior ran it down 37 yards for Bloomingdale’s third score of the evening.

With less than a minute and a half to go in the first half, Durant was in perfect position to finally get on the board, but senior quarterback Sean Williams couldn’t find the open man.

He threw it to his right, hoping for a miracle. Instead, it bounced out of his receiver’s hands and flopped to the ground. The Bulls pounced immediately for another fumble recovery.

This time, Alderson found senior Javon Stephens in the open field, who then ran 18 yards for the fourth touchdown.

The second half was a slower pace for the Bulls’ offense. But Bloomingdale played with a similar tenacity scoring — again — on its opening possession of the third quarter.

The Bulls worked their way down the field from the 36-yard line. Alderson handed off the ball to Gonnella for the last 2 yards of the drive, securing a 35-0 lead (with the two-point conversion from Alderson to junior Jac’Son Boone).

Durant’s conservative play calling didn’t build much momentum. Williams only threw a handful of balls and handed them off to his teammates for most of the game.

“I’m just excited for these kids…,” Coulson said after the win. “I told them we have 24 hours to celebrate this win and then we have to come back and go to work.”

And Coulson certainly got the energy he wanted with Bloomingdale’s first shutout of the season, too.

“We started with energy, we finished with energy,” he said. “We got going’s hard to get a shutout nowadays, so I’m happy.”